Nail-biting moment rescuers race to save a fox whose head is stuck in a plastic bottle before it runs out of oxygen


This is the heartbreaking moment a fox got its head stuck in a plastic bottle while out in the wild.

In the first episode of Channel 4’s Wildlife Rescue – which aired last night – a dedicated team at South Essex Wildlife Hospital tried desperately to save the fox’s life by detaching a bottle from its head.

The transparent container enveloped the animal’s entire head and neck, making it nearly impossible to breathe.

When rescuers first arrived at the building site, the fox fled the scene in a state of panic, sending the team on a wild goose chase before finally apprehending it.

Sharon, a rescuer, explained that the plastic bottle had left the fox ‘distressed’ and ‘terrified’ and it was currently ‘freaking out’.

She said: ‘If it gets away the worst thing [is] knowing you were so close but so far.

‘They don’t have any concept of us helping them when they are sick or injured. They’ll do whatever they can to avoid us’.

A team of builders and rescuers could be seen trying to locate the furry mammal as it ran circles around them on the building site.

The rescuers – donning disposable gloves, black clothing and carrying nets – frantically searched around wheelie bins, scaffolding and parked cars in a fervent attempt to find it.

But the fox was having none of it and instead attempted to evade capture by throwing it’s slinky body between scaffolding gates.

One rescuer, named Charlotte, finally caught a glimpse of the fox and alerted the others who sprinted into action.

‘I’ve got a visual!’ she said. After luring it into a boarded-up corner, she then shouted out ‘got him’ as she placed the capture net around its body.

Charlotte and Sharon then placed it into a well-vented animal cage to begin the work of removing the plastic bottle from its head.

While Charlotte held it down with a white towel, Sharon began slowly removing the plastic – however she soon discovered another challenge.

‘It’s too tight,’ she said. ‘It’s [the bottle] is caught under there. There’s blood under there – just don’t let him bite me’.

After much wrangling, they finally managed to detach the cracked plastic from the fox’s head.

It was an emotional sight as the removal gave way to bloodied and matted fur, while the fox appeared to bear a look of distress and fear.

At this point the team noted that the fox’s head could’ve been trapped in the bottle from as far back as a week ago.

The relieved animal was finally set free and back onto the wild, as on site builders cheered the rescuers on for a job ‘well done’.

The role of the wildlife team is to tend to the needs of sick, injured and orphaned animals.

As part of a policy of protecting and rehabilitating wildlife across Essex, their intention is to return any creatures under their care back to their natural habitat.

This article by Maria Okanrende was first published by The Daily Mail on 19 April 2024. Lead Image: When rescuers first arrived at the building site, the fox in a state of panic, fled the scene.

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